Wigan survive wobble to go clear at the top

Wigan 26 Castleford 16
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The Independent Online

Wigan used their game in hand on their rivals to go clear at the top of Super League, but they were given a first-half scare by the patched-up Tigers. Castleford twice took the lead and were still battling away bravely late in the game. With a little more steadiness they could have grabbed a shock result last night.

Missing 11 first-team regulars, Cas battled hard but coach Terry Matterson was upset at the timing of the game. "I believe the welfare of the players was compromised by playing the game tonight," he said. "Wigan asked for this day and Wigan got this day. We asked to play after the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup. I am worried about the welfare of the players. We've got to back up in four days - it's another Easter for us - and we haven't got a squad big enough."

It all began predictably enough and Josh Charnley's fourth-minute try, from Paul Deacon's kick, looked certain to be the first of many. But two Cas tries in five minutes radically altered the match's complexion. Ryan McGoldrick's crisp short pass set up Stuart Jones for the first, then he linked with Dean Widders to enable Richard Owen to score in the corner.

Wigan rallied and levelled the scores through Charnley's second, scored on a vacant wing when Cas left themselves short of numbers out wide.

It was still not going according to plan for Wigan, however. Even without his usual partner, Danny Orr, Rangi Chase was causing problems, his kick seeing the Tigers' lead restored before half-time. Sam Tomkins fumbled the ball and the Cas substitute John Davies was there to touch down.

Wigan began to put matters right after the break, when Steve Snitch was penalised for going high on Sam Tomkins and Liam Farrell took advantage with the equalising try. Snitch gave away another penalty in the build-up to the George Carmont try that put the Warriors ahead and when Brett Finch's pass sent Ryan Hoffman through, normal service had been resumed.

Wigan S Tomkins; Charnley, J Tomkins, Carmont, Goulding; Finch, Deacon; Mossop, Leuluai, Lima, Hansen, Farrell, O'Loughlin. Substitutes used Hoffman, Tuson, McIlorum, Hock.

Castleford McGoldrick; Eden, Arundel, Ferres, Owen; Widders, Chase; Fozzard, Milner, Emmitt, Jones, Holmes, Snitch. Substitutes used Massey, Davies, Clark, Parker.

Referee S Ganson (St Helens).